An hour of your life is worth a bit less than a pack of incontinence pads.
Admittedly, they’re 30-count and “created for heaviest leakage”, so maybe it would be a more palatable deal to think two to five minutes of your life would be worth a single one of these pads.
But probably not.
My friends and I were talking about cryptocurrency, and we quickly got to how pretty much all currency was “fiat” currency. That is, it has value because someone (usually a government) says that it has value. Typically ,when someone thinks of a “backed” currency, they think of it being backed by precious metals – gold and silver.
…but if you think about it hard enough, those are fiat currencies as well. If everyone suddenly had a bunch of gold, the price would totally drop – because it wouldn’t be as scarce. (And before the tech industry, it wasn’t particularly useful.) Which means that gold doesn’t have some kind of absolute value either.1
The only thing that makes sense as an absolute is time.1
Which means, quite simply, that our minimum wage is literally saying what the minimum cost of an hour of someone’s life is worth.
And that’s less than the value of a pack of incontinence pads from Wal*Mart.
1 Example: It takes time to extract precious metals (leading to their rarity and “value”); if it was easier to get them due to better extraction techniques or a new supply, then the amount of time needed to collect the same amount would go down, and so would the price.